Best Practices for Marketing Web to Print for In-plant Print Centers
The third article in our Web to Print Best Practices series about how in-plants can successfully implement and use Web to print software covered “6 installation best practices.” In this fourth post, I’ll focus on a topic closely related to rolling out your Web to print system to your organization- marketing it to your customers. Marketing can start with your roll out, but it should continue even after you are in full production. For example, K-12 and higher Education in-plants Frisco ISD and Citrus College announced that the system was coming for months ahead of the install.
But, don’t start in the middle of our Web to Print Best Practices series; start from the beginning.
7 Marketing and Sales Best Practices
- Name your system something that makes sense to your users (don’t just use the default name) – be creative, choose something meaningful, use your brand, have a context. For instance, here are some examples: iPrint, ePrint, “Print to Print Shop,” DocServices.
- While marketing can start with your rollout, or even before, it should continue after you are live and up and running. Like any business, marketing your in-plant is continual. You add products and services, change pricing, gain capabilities and need to remind people you are there to help them. Some in-plants remind users about getting work in around key times such as before the beginning of the school year or before holidays.
Marketing is important. You may still be in the basement but with the Internet you are only a click away. That is if, and only if, people know what you do and your URL.
- Use internal resources to help you with your marketing. I’ve seen in-plants use students for student class projects and utilize other internal departments, including: marketing, communications, graphic design and learning and development/training. I’ve also seen in-plants use key sets of users such as curriculum leaders and pilot groups to help spread the word.
- Market to Users and Non-Users. In order to grow and stay relevant, you will want to reach out to those departments or user communities that are not using your services. You may have previous order data that you can use as a start. Chances are any modern Web to print software will capture a wealth of data about user ordering patterns. You should be able to easily determine which departments are using your services the most and more importantly, which are not. Another source of data that can be very enlightening is your own financial system. One of our customers, a large hospital and health system, found that there was $11M/year in outside spending on printing at premium prices. Reaching out to the organizations with outside spend enabled the print center to bring some of that work into the internal print facility, resulting in significant savings. We find that in many organizations some segments of the organization don’t even know that you exist.
- Spend time outside of your operation to listen and then let others know what you can do for them and what capabilities you can offer to help with their challenges. Too often printers promote the equipment they have and neglect to mention how they can save users time or how the products they produce impact the bottom line. The majority of your users don’t care that you have the latest ink spray web high speed digital 5th station high capacity press– they want to know what you can do for them to make their work easier and faster or how you help bring in new business for the parent organization, or help them spend more time teaching instead of standing in front of a copier loading paper, or compiling files to create a sales proposal, etc. Sell the benefits, not the printing.
- Become a trusted advisor. Because you know more about printing than your customers, communicate other ways that you can help them, too. Just because they don’t see something in your standard offerings doesn’t mean that you can’t make it happen for them. Encourage your customers to use you as their “trusted” printing advisor. We know one in-plant who uses rush jobs as an opportunity to demonstrate their responsiveness hundreds of times every month.
- Don’t leave sales to chance. Depending on the size of your organization, consider assigning a member of your staff (or you) to spend a portion (or all) of their time going out to departments to discuss how they are using or not using your capabilities. You may find that some customers have challenges you didn’t know they had. By providing labor or file hosting or processes in the print and mail center, you can save them significant time that then enables them to more easily do their job.
IMPORTANT: When you find ways to help other department, document the time savings to add to your annual report. Keep track of the products and services you deliver and document these savings, too. This is important data to have when your Director or the CFO is looking for ways to cut costs. Or, be proactive and suggest ways your parent organization can save by using your services!
Make Data Your Friend
I mentioned data earlier. With some practice you can become pretty efficient at analyzing your Web to print data. Here is a suggestion that will help you even outside of your Web to print system: Get to know Excel Pivot tables. This feature of Excel can be very useful for summarizing, analyzing, sorting and graphing large amounts of data. There are a lot of resources online to help you get started. And, doing your own reporting from raw data gives you the flexibility to ask other questions that “canned” reports can’t always show.